Celebrating Milestones and Special Days.

So, Sometimes people tell me that they don’t celebrate birthdays, or special occasions because ‘they can’t be bothered anymore’ or they feel like they’re getting too old for it. To me, this is just more reason to celebrate-another year of this wonderful life! Remember its not yours forever…

Nothing brings me more joy than a celebration. I love family get togethers and spending time with my loved ones, marking special days and anniversaries with some good food and lots of laughter. The sense of nostalgia and looking back at how far you’ve come is a brilliant reminder of how life is ever-changing and evolving. Time stands still for no man (or woman). Make the most of your time, and look back on the fun you had.

I think positivity is really important in all aspects of life, and I generally try not to carry negative memories with me, no one needs that kind of baggage believe me! Life is best lived well, in good health, with happiness, love, kindness and laughter.

Of course, there are sad times and we all lose loved ones along the way, but something I learnt to do a few years ago when my grandfather passed away, is to mark the date each year by remembering all the things that made him who he was, and instead of being sad and crying, I feel gratitude for him having been a big part of my life for so long. The same goes for the other loved ones I have lost over the years. Loss is inevitable, but you can choose to be happy for the time you had with someone, or you can be sad that they’re gone. Either way, you will have to face the loss in some sense.

Birthdays are another day that I love to celebrate. My mum always made a fuss of me on my birthday and I have such fond memories of parties with games, friends, food and of course cake! I try to create the same magic for my daughters now.

Always celebrate birthdays, especially your own-I mean come on, it’s the day your unique and beautiful soul blessed the word we live in, with its irreplaceable presence. Show yourself some love and eat cake.

Yesterday was our 13th wedding anniversary, and although my husband was keen to take me out, to wine and dine me (lucky girl I am), I really wanted a quiet evening, with him and some pizza, so that’s what I got.

There is honestly so much to celebrate in life. Mark the days that changed your life and remember; everything is temporary, so make the absolute most of it while you have the chance. Above all else, be happy!

Monday – A day with a bad rep, so lets show it some love!

I never get Sunday blues. For me, Mondays bring the promise of a new start, a clean slate, and the opportunity to make your week even better than the last.

Some weeks are quiet and some are extra busy, this is true for most of us. However your week looks, there is always something to be positive about. How do I know that? Because you create that positive thing for yourself. In fact, my secret to having a great week, every week, is to make sure that there is at least one thing every day that I can do just for myself.

Having two children under the age of five, means that there is always something for me to do, if I’m not cooking, I’m washing up, doing laundry, paperwork, homework, work-work (yes that too), tidying up, or making snacks at the constant request of my girls. Then of course there is the attempted toilet training. I refuse to us a potty, so it’s ‘Tell mummy when you need to go to toilet ok?’ ‘Ok mummy, I good girl’. A few minutes later after a wee on said toilet, and a fresh pull up, we get ‘mummy I done a poo-poo’. The. Sheer. Joy.

Anyway, I digress, my original point being that life is busy for us all, and almost everyone experiences periods of stress, with Mondays generally being seen as the start of another long week.

I used to feel that way, but then I changed my attitude towards Mondays, and now I love them, yes, it really IS possible.

So you’re sitting there on a Sunday evening, feeling a bit glum at the prospect of work, or your never-ending chores. STOP- lets be proactive about this. Get yourself a notepad and a pen, lets make your to-do list for the week. Split the things that need to be done, across the five coming days and make a plan of the things you’re going to get done. Ok, now have a look over the list, you’ve probably listed all the important, practical tasks. Go back, and on each day add a activity just for you. It could be something that only lasts 10 minutes if that’s all you can spare. Examples of the kind of things on my list are:

  • watch an episode of my favourite show
  • do a face mask
  • do a mindfulness guided meditation
  • read a chapter or two of a book
  • look through a magazine
  • watch a film
  • paint my nails
  • have a bubble bath

Just one thing, for you and only you, every day.

When Monday morning arrives, take a deep breath, relax. Out comes Mondays list. Forget about the lists for the other days, take your week one day at a time as much as possible. Get Mondays tasks checked off, because feeling like you’ve had a productive day, you feel more relaxed. That sense of achievement brings a certain level of calm.

If your issue with Mondays is the fact that you hate your job, then keep your eye out for posts coming soon, on goal setting and making changes.

I really do hope that you’re smiling by the time next Monday comes around!

Fathers Day

Fathers day is such a special day in our home, simply because my girls are so lucky to have a wonderful dad.

My husband wanted children a lot sooner than I did. I could never quite prepare myself. I kept finding excuses to put off starting a family. We were married for eight years before our eldest daughter was born. Needless to say it was life changing!

From the moment I found out I was expecting, I began to see a different side to my husband, something really endearing, that made me fall in love with him just that little bit more. We both cried tears of joy when we held out baby girl for the first time, and his bond with her was as instant as mine. Once on the ward, I had showered and changed into some comfy pj’s, and I returned to my bay, to see my husband sitting on the visitors chair, with our daughter snugly resting on his chest. That image will remain with me forever, it was the moment I knew, that my childrens experience of a fathers love would be so different to my own.

My dad is not a bad dad, and I love him dearly, but he was never a very present father, always busy working, and too young to be tied down and be at home with his children. He gave us everything we needed, except maybe enough hugs and encouragement.

Since that day, my husband has shown himself to be the most loving, compassionate, funny, approachable, hard-working and encouraging father any girl could wish for. Both of our daughters adore their dad, and it brings me so much joy and contentment to witness their beautiful relationship.

I know there will be ups and downs, (I anticipate this to be especially true during the teenage years), but I hope their bond stays as strong as it is now, always.

We treated the special guy in our home to a delicious lunch at TGI Fridays today (his tastes are simple-no fuss, and lets be honest it was a treat we ALL enjoyed).

I hope you all had a great day and that all fathers, both present and absent, were in your hearts. Big Love.

 

My Skincare Routine

I often get compliments on my skin. I could say that I’m fortunate to have good skin, but I really do believe that it’s only part good luck and genetics.

A good skin care routine is invaluable.

This post won’t include product reviews, those will come later, as I would like to go into more depth about the products I use and why. So here is a simple breakdown of my routine.

  1. A good cleanser. This can be either foamy, creamy or a gel, pick what works for you. Use a cotton muslin cloth or an electric facial brush to massage this into the skin, rather than using your hands, this makes a big difference.
  2. Toner. This is a step you really shouldn’t miss out. Toner refreshes and tightens the skin. It should also pick up anything your cleanser may have left behind.
  3. Moisturiser. I have sensitive skin which can get dry on certain areas of my face, so I use a moisturiser specifically suited to my skin type. There are so many different moisturisers available out there, and they vary greatly in price, from the basic bargains, to the outright ludicrous. To a certain extent you do get what you pay for, but that said, there is no need to break the bank. I swear by Liz Earle naturally active skincare. https://uk.lizearle.com/category/Skincare/MOISTURISERS/skin-repair-dry-sensitive
  4. An eye cream or serum. The area around your eyes is super sensitive, so treat it with care. It is really important to keep it hydrated and fresh. The more hydrated and looked after that skin is, the longer you can put off the creases and fine lines.
  5. Invest in a really good eye make up remover. The routine above should remain the same for the morning and evening, (yes you really should do all of that twice a day), however at night, add the step of removing any make up before you cleanse, tone and moisturise. My favourites are YSL eye make remover and Elemis smart water, which can be used to remove makeup from the whole face.

The Extras

  1. Twice a week, I use an exfoliating scrub after I cleanse. Some people prefer a gentle exfoliation and some like something really quite rough so that they can feel all that dead skin coming away. I myself prefer something a little bit in-between, so I use a St Ives scrub. They’ve got a few in their range and all of them are really lovely. This addition to your routine is essential if you want to draw out impurities and maintain that youthful glow.
  2. A mask. This is a weekly ritual for me that has led to that particular day of the week being re-named ‘face mask Friday’ in my house. My two year old finds it terrifying to say the least. I however, love this part of my week, and those 20 minutes or so while the mask works its magic are some much needed time to relax. I like to try different masks, but generally finish a pot before moving onto something new. I do have a favourite, that I tend to come back to again and again, but I wont detail that here as I will be featuring it in a product review soon.

So, without stating the obvious, I do appreciate that we all have different skin types, and what works for one person, may not necessarily work for another. Try and test products in the above categories until you find something that is just right for you.

I hope this little routine inspires you to really look after and love the skin you’re in!

 

Anxiety-and how to WIN

So, todays post is about anxiety. This subject is vast and at times complicated, however, I’m going to use my own experience of anxiety (of which I have a great deal), to try and help you with your experience.

Anxiety is surprisingly common, and to some extent, a normal part of life. It becomes an issue when it starts to take over your thoughts, and stops you from enjoying things you were able to before, or makes you fearful of trying anything new.

I think anxiety has always been with me, but I dealt with some tragedy and loss in my teens which amplified the feelings of worry and stress, and if there’s one thing we know about anxiety, is that it feeds off stress.

I don’t want to make this post about trying to explain why any of us are anxious, because everyone has their own unique experience, and levels of anxiety vary greatly. Instead, I would like to give you tips on managing anxiety, and for some of you, how to beat it into submission.

  1. Don’t try to own anxiety, and by that I mean stop labelling it as yours. Don’t attach it yourself like something you carry around. We do this by saying things like ‘my anxiety’. Its just anxiety, it doesn’t belong to you and it’s not who you are.
  2. Invest in a good guided meditation app. My personal favourite is Headspace- that’s what works for me. YouTube has some great meditation resources, and again I like, ‘The Honest Guys’ and their various meditations, sleep talk-downs and mindfulness exercises.
  3. panic attacks are uncomfortable and terrifying, but NEVER life threatening or dangerous. I went through a period where I had attacks everyday-now they are few and far between.
  4. Recognise your panic triggers and face them. For such a long time avoidance was my technique of choice, and so much of life passed me by. By facing our triggers and inviting the panic, our body stops fighting against the sensations and they pass a lot quicker.
  5. Once an attack starts, accept that it is happening, and tell yourself that it will pass. Tell yourself that although you are scared, you are not in danger. Above all else, focus on that breathing.
  6. Understand that breathing really is the key to managing anxiety. You want to breathe in and inflate your belly, much like a sleeping baby does. Try this: Breathe in for a count of four, then hold for a count of four, and then slowly breathe out for a count of eight. Repeat this until you feel calm and relaxed. This technique isn’t just for panic attacks, you can use it whenever you have some quiet time to yourself.
  7. Try to let go of negative emotions such as anger and guilt. These feelings feed anxiety and they don’t change the situation you’re in, they are damaging and unhelpful.
  8. Make time for people you enjoy being around, and for things you enjoy doing. It is not selfish to put your wellbeing and needs at the top of your list sometimes.
  9. Stay true to yourself, stand by what you believe and live your life according to who you are, not what others need you to be. It is impossible to sustain that for too long and it makes you bitter.
  10. Finally, be grateful for everything you have. Appreciate people, places, possessions and time. Everything is temporary, so enjoy it and be present in the moment. Stop thinking about the past or worrying unnecessarily about the future

I hope this [practical, tried and tested advice helps you, like its helped me. I honestly try every day to live by these simple but effective guidelines and its changed my world.

Welcome!

Hello! Firstly, welcome to my blog :). Let me introduce myself.

I’m Sonia, a mid 30 something, married, mum of two beautiful girls. My children are young and so I’ve spent a number of years working from home- which I love! I’m a law graduate, but I never went into practice, and what I do is completely unrelated to anything legal (that’s not to say it involves anything illegal-just to be clear!)

My motivation for starting this blog is to share and spread happiness. I have been a long term sufferer of anxiety and panic disorder, which I’m sure you can appreciate has made me very unhappy at times.

For a long while, I remember being unhappy all of the time, attached to this constant state of melancholy. Everyday felt stagnant, and there was this continuous underlying anxiety centered around a fear of dying before I had ever really learnt to live or felt alive.

I don’t want to bog you down with any of that though, because things in my life are so different now. I never thought they would be, and I never thought I would be able to experience half the things I do now. I am a true example of how things really can get better, and not just better-but be wonderful.

I’m hoping this blog will be a place where you can laugh, cry, feel inspired, and learn new things.

There will be posts about positivity, motivation, linked to my life coaching service (more info at http://www.focusclaritycoaching.co.uk, lifestyle, travel, family, and food (a huge passion of mine). I’ll be doing product reviews on things I love and giving you tips about pretty much anything an everything that brings joy to my life.

I’ve got parenting tips, stories, anecdotes and so much more to share with you. Join me on this journey and lets see if we can help you find your happiness too. Enjoy!